Are you looking for a luxury ski-in-ski-out hotel which sits directly on the slopes of snow sure alpine mountains? A hotel so convenient for skiing that their lift (which elevates you directly from the hotel ski shop) opens right onto the actual slopes? A hotel which is not only perfect for adults but offers an insane amount of fun for the kids too? Then look no further than Schlosshotel Fiss. We have found you the best family ski hotel in Europe.
Best Time To Visit
Although the ski conditions on the sunny slopes outside the hotel will be best in the prime of winter, end of January to early March, we visited at the end of March and conditions remained excellent. We even had a big dump of snow half way through our stay and throughout our stay, there was still enough snow on the slopes to ski in and out.
Whatever time of the winter season you visit, you can hop into a gondola over to the North side of the mountain, where conditions are pretty perfect right through to the end of the ski season.
We actually recommend visiting towards the end of the ski season, when the snow conditions are still good, but the hotel and slopes are quieter and the deals and offers are better. You can pick up a superb special offer week mid-January or at the end of March, at a price that makes a trip here irresistible. In fact, I was told that many regular guests visit at the start AND the end of the season. Yes, this hotel is so good it reckons on an almost 90% return rate for its guests!
How To Get There
Schlosshotel Fiss is located at 1,436m altitude in the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis region of the Western Tyrol. It’s a 1 hour drive from Innsbruck or 2.5 hours from Munich or Bolzano. The nearest train station is in Landeck, a 30 minute transfer away.
Arrival is spectacular. An alpine road winds its way up the side of the steep mountain leading to Fiss. It feels like a road that would be featured on BBC’s “Top Gear” with fir trees clinging onto the mountainside when you look up, and a steep drop on the other side of the road offering staggering views across the snow-laden valley.
When you begin to feel that this dizzyingly high road is going to drive you into the clouds, the pretty mountainside village of Fiss appears. Within Fiss, the Schlosshotel Fiss is the best five-star luxury hotel and it has an incredible location right on the edge of the slope.
The button lift which takes skiers up the closest slope is within meters of the hotel’s fencing and you can ski down to the main gondolas in seconds. Go for a swim in their infinity pool and skiers whisk past you. You can almost feel the snow spray from the skis as you swim up-and-down.
To get to the slopes you simply need to head into the lift from the ski room that’s connected to the hotel. When the lift doors open you can ski right out onto the slope. Ridiculously good and crucially for me, you never need to carry your heavy skis or walk any distance in your ski boots.
Style & Character
Schlosshotel Fiss has a modern alpine feel. The lobby has lots of pines and stonework and leads to the bar area which is a mass of candles and stylish alpine furniture. Much like a Four Seasons hotel but more individual, the entire area is immaculate. Beyond the bar area is a sun-dappled terrace and a further lounge with a roaring fire where you can enjoy an extravagant afternoon food buffet that is included in the room rate..
Rooms are immaculate, large and recently refurbished, with exquisite furnishings and flint coloured tiling in the bathrooms. Pinewood floors, doors & cupboards are offset by white sheets and cream rugs. In our room there was a main bed, a large sofa in front of a TV, a desk and a separate room with sliding doors and two extra beds. The highlight was the bathroom, which had an enormous worksurface, a double sink and a glass wall with pine doors which opened and shut to join the two rooms up. It was a very clever design and made the space very fun.
As you would expect, there was also an enormous bath and a walk-in shower and a separate toilet. Outside there was a balcony with two seats, a table and a lounger, which I imagine would be fantastic in the summer because of the views, but it was frankly too cold to sit out on in the negative winter temperatures.
I also particularly like the ceilings in our room with cubic lighting and pine detailing. It’s the little touches here, like the chocolates on the pillow, the quick room clean when you are out and the staff being more than happy to bring you everything you need, that make this hotel so special. I would have quite happily lived in our Schlosshotel bedroom for the entire ski season.
All the rooms at Schlosshotel Fiss are extremely stylish and modern, whilst retaining their alpine heart. And of course, the views from every corner of this hotel are dramatic, because of its elevated position on the side of the slope.
Service & Facilities
The slopeside nature of this hotel is one of many things to love about the Schlosshotel Fiss. If you have a family and like to ski, you simply must stay at this hotel, plus I have never seen a hotel or slopes with so many kids’ facilities.
On the slopes, this region has invested massively in a huge array of fun things for the kids to do. Wigwams, American Western style villages, dragons breathing smoke and monsters in caves are all hidden on the slopes. Even the magic carpet ski lift has animated Cinderella characters trying on shoes and depicting other scenes from fairytales as you are transported past. This is a mini Disneyland in the snow just for the kids (and the young at heart).
Off the slopes, the Schlosshotel Fiss doesn’t disappoint either. The kids have their own food buffet at the evening meal, but don’t worry, if you are travelling as a couple you are unlikely to be bothered by the kids here. Every child we came across in the hotel was immaculately well-behaved and welcomed but never a problem. There is also a kids’ club, a cinema room, a teens’ area with a pool table, and a bunch of consoles for playing computer games.
But the absolute highlight at Schlosshotel Fiss is their “Splash Zone” waterslide pool, where children can get a thrill from whizzing down an enormous curly slide, complete with flashing lights and powerful jets of water. Officially, the upper part of the slide is only meant to be used by older kids and then a second, tamer water slide is open to everyone. This latter slide takes you from the mid-level into the main splash zone pool below. Kids seemed to be getting an absolute thrill from both slides. Older kids (and adults) used inflatable ring-style boats to get up extra speed on this slide, while younger kids just jumped on and headed down the slide head-first. Even little kids are catered for in the Splash Zone with a babies’ pool, which is a shallow puddle full of toys and fountains. It’s just the sort of thing my son would’ve loved when he was little.
The beauty of the pool area is that the Splash Zone is a sealed off pool next door to the quieter and more sophisticated adult infinity pool. The infinity pool area is extravagant and peaceful, the best I’ve seen in the alpine mountains. Inside the pool area are numerous comfy loungers to relax on and the room and pool are deliciously warm.
You can swim the length of the pool and then through to the outside and into the snow through automatically opening doors. If you need to relax your muscles after skiing, there is also a large external hot tub style pool next door to the infinity pool with bubbles and warm water jets, where you can relax looking out at the Austrian mountain vista and the skiers passing by.
Beyond the pool, the facilities are almost endless with an enormous spa area offering treatments, an adults’ relaxation area and sauna area along with a family relaxation area and sauna. It may seem strange to have two separate areas but bear in mind that this is Austria and although Brits tend to use saunas with swimwear on, the Austrians and Germans prefer to use them without their swimwear, hence the need for two separate areas.
A large gym area has the latest fitness equipment, from running machines to cross trainers and there are complimentary fitness sessions in the pool and in the fitness area every day, usually “aqua fit” at 8:15 am, pilates at 1 pm and spinning at 4 pm.
And there’s more, for children, there’s a cinema room where English movies are played at 6 pm and German versions are played at 8 pm. There is, in fact, an entire children’s programme throughout the day which includes activities like lucky boxes, stone painting, pirate party and other creative ideas, so the kids never run out of things to do whether they spend the day skiing or not.
Food is an absolute highlight here. Breakfast is lavish with everything you could wish for from salads and fruits to pastries and muffins to cereals, sushi to juices, including numerous multivitamin options. There is an exclusive egg chef who will do your eggs as you wish, and of course, being a luxury hotel there is plenty of champagne for breakfast if you want to start the day with a glass. The breakfast buffet is served from 7:30 am to 10:30 am, But if you don’t manage to fill up for breakfast there is also an extensive afternoon buffet 1 pm to 5 pm and then dinner with the children’s buffet starts 6:30 pm to 8 pm.
The afternoon buffet is also generous and almost rude in volume, with vats of delicious homemade pasta, pizza, salads, trays of hot and cold meats, and the deserts… apple strudel, a million chocolate and black forest gateau type cakes, custards (both vanilla and chocolate) and every soft drink you can think of.
In the evening, there’s a large and stylish bar area for pre and post dinner drinks, which is decked out with candles. Bar prices for a luxury hotel are surprisingly cheap with a bottle of Heineken coming in at just 4 euros, and if you like wine, there are complimentary wine tasting most evenings. Another nice feature is the live music in the hotel bar most evenings.
The food in the evening can be described in one word. Delicious. Each course is beautifully presented and the flavours and textures melt in your mouth. An example of one meal I choose was carpaccio of King prawn, Thai asparagus, crustacean mayonnaise and coriander to start followed by celery soup followed by codfish and mash potatoes. There is always a vegetarian option for each course and a choice of three dishes for each course. My husband and I always try to choose different dishes so that we can sample everything, but in this situation, it just makes things even more difficult as the pasta is fantastic and the fish melts in your mouth, the soup is delicious and the starters are all as pretty as a picture.
Because of the range of food (there is also a salad bar for adults and of course the children’s buffet mentioned above), I can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t find something they loved on the menu. My dessert choice was milk from Gasslbauer, coffee, banana and cinnamon with home-made white coffee ice cream. If you don’t fancy the desert on offer each evening, there is also a huge ice cream bar with around 10 flavours of ice cream including a blast from the past, raspberry ripple, and an unlimited supply of smarties and other sundries to decorate your ice cream indulgence. Can I say it again? Delicious.
The restaurant deservedly has two stars 78 points and two bottles in Austria à la carte 2009 gourmet guide. The hotel itself is a TripAdvisor Travellers Choice winner from 2017 although I can’t imagine why it doesn’t win every year.
Schlosshotel Fiss is definitely a five-star luxury hotel. I can’t imagine there is a hotel in the Alps that does more to amuse children. The dining is fantastic the staff are welcoming, efficient and kind. With the lift that takes you directly to the ski slope, ski hotels don’t get better than this.
of course, not everything goes to plan when you go on holiday. I had planned our mammoth late season ski trip for 2019 months in advance to ensure everything went like clockwork. But the remnants of a fluey cold, vomitey stomach and jetlag from getting up too early to go to the airport, took its toll on our first day at Schlosshotel Fiss, and yet we still fell in love with it.
My acrophobia didn’t dampen the thrill of flying into Innsbruck or the dizzying roads up to Schlosshotel Fiss. In fact, Innsbruck is one of my favourite airports to land in and one of the few in the world where you fly down around and between the mountains. As you get towards the airport you can look out of the windows on either side of the plane and all you see is tree-lined mountainsides, it’s a fun ride.
Once we had landed, Schlosshotel Fiss hotel transferred us from the airport to the hotel in the lovely Mercedes van and it was only a short time before we started climbing the windy roads that lead up to Fiss. It was a joy to arrive and we headed straight to the bar to relax, where my son almost immediately slipped off the super-slippy, super-high bar stool and ended up in a wailing heap on the floor, narrowly missing serious damage from a shard of his cut-glass tumbler. And then a miracle happened. The snow started falling during our meal and by the end of the evening, we were all so joyous about the layers of snow coating our balcony that we forgot about the dramas of earlier.
The rest of the trip merged into a mass of too much good food, high altitude alcohol, excellent skiing and happiness. My memory banks are full of my son humming his way down the slopes and shouting “Wheeee” on the fast bits and then “again again again!” as we reached the bottom. I will also miss his “Wheeee” as he whizzed down the Splash Zone slide and the “again again again!” as he shot out of the end of the tube! It is these special memories that make travelling such an enriching life experience, and we have made a pact with my son that we will return next year (or else!). Schlosshotel Fiss is just too good not to!
Disclosure: Most reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.